Work-Related Stress and Stress Management Stress can be defined as an adaptive response to a situation that is perceived as challenging or threatening to a person’s well-being and usually described as a negative experience. Most people feel some type of pressure from their daily duties in the work place. This pressure can be positive and motivating but sometimes this pressure can be excessive, leading to a stressful feeling. Stress can also result from being over worked.
Work-related stress affects individuals differently depending on the situation and individual resilience, defined as the capability of individuals to cope successfully in the face of significant change, adversity, or risk. The significance of learning about stress is that it can give organizations and employees some insight and clarity around the importance of stress management and avoidance. Educating employees about stress can allow them to become more comfortable and open to learning new ways to decrease their stress and maintaining a healthy state of mind.
In my opinion, stress education should be of great importance to every organization no matter the size or industry. Both organizations and employees will benefit from stress management and stress education and is well worth the time and money invested. Work-related stress leads to underperforming and unhappy employees. Organizations have a responsibility to help reduce stress for their employees to allow for a healthy work-life balance, but also for organizational effectiveness.
So what should organizations do to reduce employee stress? A few quick and relatively low cost options include reducing workplace noise, allowing flexible work schedules and allowing employees to working from home. Other more costly options include on-site fitness centers, child care support, and complaint systems where employees can have their voices heard and offer input on company policies or procedures.
If an organization chooses not to help employees reduce stress they are operating with a large risk which could hurt the organization financially and damage their reputation. Organizations can only do so much to help employees reduce their work stress. So what is the responsibility of an employee to manage stress effectively? Employees are ultimately responsible for their own well-being. When feeling stressed, they should try and identify the cause of the stress and determine what actions are appropriate to withdraw from the stressor.
Employees should raise these issues (when appropriate) with their direct supervisor to allow visibility to the situation and allow their supervisor to take correct action. In some cases an issue outside the work place may negatively affect an employee’s performance leading them to feeling some level of stress. For example, an employee may be having marital problems at home which is taxing the individual mentally, causing lack of focus and attention at work.
It should be the employees responsibility to handle these issues outside the workplace but in some cases an employer could offer some type of personal or medical leave where employees can focus on their mental or physical health then return back to work once recovered. Other organizational options could include counseling for employees either at a discounted or reduced cost. If employees do not take responsibility for their personal well-being they are not only hurting themselves but co-workers and their organization can suffer as well.
Work related stress is an important topic for both organizations and employees to fully understand. The greater the well-being of employees will benefit the individuals and the overall success of the organization. Organizations should take the lead in providing support and training to their employees but employees should take full responsibility for their individual well-being. If organizations and employees work together in supporting stress education and reduction, both will be better off and much happier.